Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reciprocity 2010

Leslie: If you want to make someone in PEER Servants smile, just say, “Kopano” or “Ricchari.” Those are two of our favorite words because they remind us of special gatherings we’ve truly enjoyed with our microfinance partners from all around the world.

In 2004 we gathered in South Africa at a conference we called Kopano (which means unity in a couple of the South African languages). It was a beautiful time of celebrating our oneness in Christ as we taught and learned from each other on how to build micro-finance programs that can have a greater impact for Christ in our world.

In 2007 we gathered in Peru at a conference called Ricchari (which means Awakening in the Quechua language). At that conference we were challenged to awaken to God’s vision for economic empowerment as a means of encouraging spiritual and material transformation in our world.

2010 is right around the corner and the PEER Servants microfinance partners and volunteer partners are already buzzing about Reciprocity, which is the name of the third triennial conference which will be held in the New England area in the summer of 2010. This theme comes from one of the core values of PEER Servants which is “The Reign of Reciprocity.” God has opened our eyes to the fact that He has created us for each other. He has gifted our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world in ways which can strengthen us in our commitment to serve Him; likewise, He has gifted us in different but complementary ways which can strengthen them in their commitment to serve Him. As we all bring to the table those gifts that God has given us, we all go from the table enriched to better accomplish the reason for which we were all created – to glorify Him and enjoy His presence forever!

I am serving as the Reciprocity 2010 conference planning coordinator. There are a host of volunteers that will be working together to make this conference a reality in such areas as helping our partners get visas and plane tickets, arranging for host families, securing a conference venue, inviting speakers, preparing for workshops, seminars, recreation, outreach and worship, organizing technical support, funding, translation, publications, and more.

One of the key speakers for the Reciprocity 2010 conference is a pastor from Nairobi Kenya named Oscar Muriu. God has given him deep insights into how we as a global family can draw from each others strengths to serve Christ more effectively and respond to the unique challenges facing our generation. We will also have workshops led by our microfinance partner in the Philippines as they share lessons learned in running one of the most spiritually, economically and socially transformational micro-finance programs we have ever seen.
At some point during the conference, we are envisioning a special event where people from the greater Boston area will gather to hear our partners share their experiences of following Christ in very challenging circumstances. When PEER Servants volunteers visit our microfinance partners they always come back home amazed by such things as the perseverance and hope of our brothers and sisters from areas affected by civil war such as southern Sudan and south Asia, the joy of the Lord and strong community that we see in our brothers and sisters from the Philippines and Brazil, the eagerness to forgive that we observe in South Africa, and the boldness and generosity of the Nigerians in evangelism and world missions despite economic limitations. The church here in the US has much to receive.
Pray with us that God will use Reciprocity 2010 to equip and empower our micro-finance partners, volunteer partners and all others who participate in the conference to appreciate all that He has invested in each of us to serve one another. Hebrews 10:24 tells us to think of ways to motivate one other to acts of love and good works. I believe there will be a lot of this at Reciprocity 2010 and that as a result we will all see Christ more clearly and serve Him for effectively.